Arts and Entertainment

This fine if elusive novel about a jazz giant echoes his art in both its style and its story-telling

ANOTHER VIEW : Woody's unenchanted evening

Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band will be playing a concert at the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank tonight.

Jazz: Sinfonietta's Miles Davis Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

'Barker and Soloff teed off each other and drove for the upper reaches'

Music The Creative Jazz Orchestra / Mike Gibbs / Peter Erskine St George's, Bristol

"Tonight we re-orchestrate!" may not have the same ring as "tonight we improvise!" but Mike Gibbs's interpretations of scores by Charles Ives, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Oliver Knussen, together with a few pieces from his own book, overflowed with quite wonderful music. Stemming originally from a 1994 commission by Birmingham Jazz, when Gibbs was asked to provide a jazz evening for a weekend devoted to Knussen and Turnage, and pairing the Zimbabwean composer with Manchester's Creative Jazz Orchestra, this Contemporary Music Network tour date triumphantly married the often strange bedfellows of the jazz and contemporary classical worlds. The scores were performed faithfully, after a fashion, yet the band swung like the clappers, and windows of improvisation were opened often enough to give the soloists something to really shout about.

So farewell then, John Lennon

I can't remember what I was doing or where I was the day I heard that John Lennon had been shot, but I do remember what I thought when I heard the news, which was: "Serve him right."

Talking to your selves

PRYOR CONVICTIONS by Richard Pryor, with Todd Gold Heinemann pounds 16. 99

Music George Russell and the Living Time Orchestra The Forum, Bath

'The musicians responded with the necessary fireworks and the concert ended with a bang'

Obituary: Don Cherry

"Let's play the music," Ornette Coleman said, "not the background!" It might sound like an innocuous remark, but with it Coleman summarised the hectic and lawless jazz revolution which he and the trumpeter Don Cherry led in the Fifties.

pop; riffs

Roy Harper on Leopold Stokowski's Symphonic Synthesis of Parsifal

'In Miles Davis's hands, modernism wasn't an aesthetic concept at all. It was his way of life'

ALBUM REVIEWS Miles Davis The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel Columbia Legacy CXK 66955

Sly, Miles and Jimi: the album

Too many musical heroes can spoil the broth, but not on Bill Laswell's latest funkathon. Mark Prendergast reports

Obituary: Eazy-E

Eric Wright (Eazy-E), musician: born 7 September 1963; died Los Angeles 26 March 1995.

Yours for £16,670: a Miles Davis original : ARTS

WHEN HIS health began to fail in the mid-Seventies, Miles Davis put down his trumpet and picked up a paintbrush. By the time he returned to public music-making in the early Eighties, a sketch pad had become his most faithful companion. During a lengthy interview in a London hotel room in 1982, on the eve of his movingly tentative return to the Hammersmith Odeon, he drew constantly, scribbling the outlines of lithe black women in a variety of coloured felt-tipped pens as he reminisced with surprising warmth and humour about his days with Charlie Parker on 52nd Street. The stylistic origin of these ecstatically contorted figures was obvious: the paintings of Abdul Mati Klarwein, whose stylised erotic hallucinations decorated the covers of two significant albums, Davis's landmark Bitches Brew and Santana's popular Abraxas, in 1970. Davis's involvement in visual art deepened during his exile from music. An exhibition titled The Hidden Years, which opens in London this month, contains work veering sharply away into a harsher and more streetwise style, clearly influenced by the graffiti-strewn daubs of Jean-Michel Basquiat, one of the key New York artists of the mid-Eighties. (Basquiat died in 1988, three years before Davis.) Both styles are represented, sometimes combined into a kind of psychedelic hip-hop art, among the 14 paintings and 100 drawings in the exhibition, all of them for sale at prices between £1,000-£20,000. (Roots, shown here, is priced at £16,670.) Although Davis was never the leader in visual art that he had been throughout his life in music, he was something more than a dilettante. And while there is no likelihood that these pieces will overshadow his musical legacy, they illuminate an important aspect of his sensibility and go some way towards repairing the aesthetic damage done by his weirdly awful latter-day wardrobe.

Spray it loud

The Artful Dodger, a sought-after London aerosol artist, is now very much legit. Julian May reports

JAZZ MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR : Prophet collects an honour

The most popular film-maker in history got into history, and stayed popular. Glyndebourne rose again, handsomely. Pop ate itself, but survived. Steve Coogan was everywhere, and so was Hugh Grant; only one of them is praised here. The theatre had a thin time, but television drama serials made up for it. People defined themselves on Mondays at 9pm: were you for `Cracker' or `Chuzzlewit'? And again on Saturdays at 8pm: did you really believe that a 14m-1 shot would win?(Or did you do it for love of the arts?) It wasn't the best of years, but it had its moments. And here they are, in the fourth annual `IoS' Awards

Just let me find one mistake and I'm in Small's paradise

Joanna MacGregor is a dazzling young classical pianist who likes to take risks by featuring compositions by jazz writers. The main risk she runs here is that the BBC will be unable to get the name right.
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